Book reviews: new non-fiction from Garance Doré, Mike Albo and Greg Gutfeld
Doré’s work looks like a book but is more of a blog in covers, Albo could have been more amusing if he focused less on himself, and Gutfeld wants to teach the world the merits of compassionate conservatism
Love x Style x Life
by Garance Doré
Spiegel & Grau (e-book)
She may be a style beacon and there’s no denying her fashion illustrations and photography are fab, but Love x Style x Life is a mystery. A book-like object rather than a true tome, it contains Garance Doré’s musings on beauty (French, in particular) and lifestyle in blog-form writing that feels like one long caption after another. Some of it is charming, some amusing, but reading this is the equivalent of an evening spent eating molecular gastronomy foams. To be fair, if you’re in the mood, it can be entertaining to gaze at pictures of women looking effortlessly beautiful (Doré’s specialty). It might even be helpful to learn that dark lipstick isn’t always great for photos and to mentally tick off all her wardrobe must-haves – the classics on which to build anew every season – including the pencil skirt, white T-shirt and the Lulu by Saint Laurent Paris bag. But then you read her chapter on turning 40 and realise that no 40-year-old is going to have the time to consume literary bubbles. That said, fans, of whom there are many, will probably not feel cheated. Her take on Parisians and New Yorkers is quite funny.
by Mike Albo
Amazon Digital Services (e-book)
If you buy this Kindle Single, your money will go towards the education of a child belonging to a lesbian couple who, in a bid to be parents, sought the sperm of a close friend, who also happened to be gay. If that makes you think this will be a rollicking read, you may be disappointed. The book is a sometimes funny, other times introspective diary of a donor. Mike Albo, the father of the “Little Being”, tells about being asked to be part of something adult and serious, and wonders whether he, a freelance writer, could step up to the challenge. A gay comedian/poet/performer/writer, as he describes himself, he takes months to agree to the request from his friends, Caroline and Pat, then submits to tests, including one for HIV, to “audition” to be a sperm donor. Passing with flying colours, he gets down to the business of donating, in a brightly lit room with a chair and a television. The sex movies available do not include gay male porn but Albo delivers nevertheless. Spermhood could have been a fully fledged book, with more about the couple and less about Albo’s looking for love.
How to Be Right
by Greg Gutfeld
Random House Audio (audiobook)
You don’t have to agree with Greg Gutfeld’s politics to enjoy (parts of) his book. But that’s because he excels at being charming while arguing that his conservatism is a “more practical, generous and compassionate way to live”. More than what? He avoids saying explicitly but follows up by arguing only that “the left can never lead, it can only pull” and that “liberalism is a hobby when things are going good”. To Gutfeld, as long as there are teenagers, there will be liberals, and they’ll likely be entertainers, professors and artists. Away from the pithy one-liners, How to Be Right, narrated with a smile by Steve Kramer, will demonstrate, right or otherwise, how to be persuasive. Using humour is an obvious strategy but Kramer also gives advice, including: pretend to be dumb because people like playing experts; tone down the shrillness in your voice; and, especially, cut out the anger. His bigger aim is to teach readers how to convert, not confirm. Immigration, climate change, gun control and other big topics are tackled, along with suggestions on how to go for the jugular, most effective of which is to pin your argument to race.